Save Ocean Avenue, preserve linear park’s Green Acres status

For the first time in 50 years, the City of Long Branch wants to put cars and traffic at the beginning of the new boardwalk in the Green Acres open space linear park. The request for this traffic and to trade away the Green Acres property at that point has been sent to the state Green Acres agency and is being reviewed.

The proposal is to put traffic next to the boardwalk from Brighton Avenue to West End Avenue, which makes the roadway dangerous for everyone. Where are the bikes, dog walkers, skateboarders, roller skaters, pedestrians and hover boards all supposed to go? There is no sidewalk along that stretch of road, and there is only a narrow road space where the bathroom comes out on the roadway, which will pinch cars and people all together.

If this Green Acres protected open space is opened to traffic, without a public hearing, it will be a prime target for more businesses, more condos and real estate development, right at the entrance to the boardwalk and the Ocean Avenue Park and roadway.

Public outcry and opposition stopped this from happening when the city tried to do this in 2007. People voiced their concerns and signed petitions and the city withdrew its ordinance. If the mayor is serious about extending the linear park north, why not just keep South Bath Avenue to North Bath Avenue closed as it is now and close the roadway to traffic up to Pavilion Avenue?

The new parking spaces on the west side of Ocean Avenue make it extremely dangerous for bikes and anyone else using or crossing the roadway. Ocean Avenue was reduced in width for the new plantings next to the boardwalk when the new boardwalk was built, making the roadway more narrow. Bikes, skateboards, rollerblades, etc. going north and south can hardly pass through that section with car doors opening and people going to and from the beach.

Crossing and biking on Ocean Boulevard continues to be dangerous. There is no bike path on the road when bikes move past Pier Village, and cars travel the boulevard at a fast speed. Why not create a safer north/south bikeway on Ocean Avenue to Seven Presidents Park that avoids forcing bikes onto the dangerous Ocean Boulevard?

The new boardwalk and roadway are magnificent, safe and beautiful as a complete Green Acres open space linear park. Leave it alone. Don’t give away any protected open space that the public uses safely as a park for recreational use.

Contact Green Acres while they are reviewing the city’s plan and voice your concerns at 609-984-0559, 609-984-0631 or Jessica.Patterson@dep.nj.gov.

Dennis Sherman
Chairman
Save Ocean Avenue Committee
Long Branch